8 Ways to Remain Mentally Sharp as You Age

Ross Quade | Health | 18 May, 2015 | No Comments

You may be accepting of the fact that the strength of your lungs and joints will decline over time, however your mind doing the same thing is likely not something you want to experience. Luckily, there are some prevention strategies you can utilize in order to ensure that your mind stays sharp throughout the ages. Here are eight strategies to utilize in order to ensure that your brain stays young even as you age.


1.  Exercise

There is new evidence that suggests that taking part in regular aerobic exercise is one of the most important things you should do in order to maintain long-term brain health. While both the lungs and heart are affected by sprinting on the treadmill, your brain is also getting fitter every time you exercise as well. In fact, one study showed that exercising increases the number of brain cells contained in the hippocampus. In order to get the most mental fitness, it’s recommended that you try to squeeze at least thirty minutes of activity into your daily schedule.


2.  Eat The Right Amount of Healthy Food

Having too much or too little energy to power your brain can mess with the brain’s machinery. It’s recommend that you take on a low glycemic diet for the most benefit to the brain. This means eating foods with a lot of fiber, as well as moderate amounts of protein and fat, as these are all broken down slowly compared with high glycemic foods like white starches and sweets. Having a steady digestion pace in your gut will give your brain a more reliable flow of energy, which will optimize its performance and health.


3.  Take Care of Your Body

Diseases that are preventable such as obesity, hypertension and Type II diabetes have an affect on your brain. Health concerns that have been sweeping the nation are linked to an increase in the risk of memory impairments and cognitive decline. In order to lessen the impact of brain damage caused by aging you must ensure that you keep your circulatory system in order by avoiding such things as saturated fat and cigarettes.


4.  Enjoy Your Morning Coffee

There is a growing amount of evidence that indicates that having a caffeine habit can actually do wonders in protecting the brain. According to one large study, drinking between two to four cups of Jo every day could actually fight off cognitive decline that normally occurs with aging, as well as decrease the chance of developing Alzheimer’s by as much as 30 to 60%. However, it is yet to be determined whether the benefits come from the antioxidants or the caffeine found in tea and coffee. Whatever the case, having that morning latte will not only improve your cognition today but also decades from now.


5.  Learn New Things

Whether it’s learning how to play a new instrument or learning how to speak French, by learning a new skill and going outside of your daily routine and even your comfort zone, you can utilize many varying areas of your brain. Even doing something as simple as going a different route to get home from work or while running errands can aid in forging new neural pathways in your brain. You can also get the benefit of learning by getting out of your normal day-to-day routine in order to experience something brand new, such as an art exhibit. However, you shouldn’t just attend it only to the go home and forget all about it. Instead, it’s recommended that you write down what you saw, learned and did and then proceed to talk about it with your family and friends. You can even foster the health of your brain simply by working on memorizing a new word or the lyrics to your favorite song. All you have to do is write the lyrics down and then sing along to them, as this will work your brain in a way that will help keep you mentally sharp.


6.  Utilize Your Hands

Having eye-hand coordination is something that is both tactile and visual, and will increase your brain’s activity. You can do something as simple as playing catch or you can try using your non-dominant hand for a day in order to aid in building up your brainpower. For an even bigger brain boost you should try to learn sign language, as you’ll get the amazing benefits of learning a new language, as well as combining that with the hand motions that are utilized in sign language, which will exercise different areas of your brain.


7.  Don’t Take Supplements

Supplements have been getting a bad reputation in recent years, as multivitamins are coming out as a big waste of time and money. On top of this, those pills that are supposed to boost your brainpower like melatonin and ginkgo, actually really belong in the garbage. Although these types of supplements are natural, they still have side effects that could be potentially harmful and lead to digestion trouble, high blood pressure, depression and fertility problems. Those healthy individuals that take ginkgo have not found any brain benefits besides those that took place due to the placebo affect.


8.  Eat Plenty of Antioxidants

Foods that have antioxidants in them such as dark chocolate and blueberries are great for the brain due to the fact that they scavenge free radicals, which tend to cause human brain diseases that are related to aging. On top of this, studies have found that antioxidants prevent or delay neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s, as well as help protect you from cancer cells. Antioxidants can also aid in lowering your blood pressure. Red wine also contains plenty of antioxidants, and so drinking a glass of wine with dinner can in fact keep your brain young and healthy.


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